Rep. Troy Heinert (D-26A/Mission) brings us House Bill 1193, a sensible effort to protect South Dakotans from the dangers of in situ leach uranium mining. Hoping to reverse the Legislature's history of handing out favors to potential polluters, Rep. Heinert wants to make companies like Powertech (today's stock price: eight cents!) meet a stronger burden of proof that their operations won't harm our water supplies.

HB 1193 adds three important requirements to in situ leach mining permits and projects:

  1. As part of the permit process, in situ leach uranium mining companies must show that their wastewater won't leak into other aquifers.
  2. Such mining companies must show their water restoration technology works, not just on paper, but in practice.
  3. When they're done mining, operators of in situ leach mines must restore groundwater to at least the quality it had before mining... something in situ leach uranium miners have had a really hard time doing.

We shouldn't be surprised that Heinert and fellow Democrats (Reps. Hawks, Killer, Parsley, Peterson, Schrempp, Tyler, and Senator Welke) are leading to the charge to protect South Dakotans from polluting corporate exploiters. Joining them are Republican Reps. Scott Craig (whose Black Hills constituents are keenly interested in protecting their drinking water) and Charlie Hoffman (who enjoys a good drink, but not one that glows).

Rep. Hoffman chairs the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, which gets first crack at HB 1193. The bill isn't on an agenda yet, but contact those committee members now to tell them to stand up for sensible regulation and clean water.